Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Richard Serra_sculptor

One of the most prominent sculptors of the twentieth century, Richard Serra (born in California in 1939) has long been acclaimed for his challenging and innovative work which emphasizes the process of its fabrication, characteristics of materials, and an engagement with viewer and site. In the eary 1960s, Serra and the Minimalist artists of his generation turned to unconventional, industrial materials and begun to accentuate the physical properties of their work. Relieved of its symbolic role, freed from the traditional pedestal, and introduced into the real space of the viewer, sculpture took on a new relationship to the spectator whose phenomenological experience of an object became crucial to its meaning. Viewers were encouraged to move around --and sometimes on, in, and through-- the work and encounter it from multiple perspectives. Over the years, Serra has expanded his spatial and temporal approach to sculpture and has focused primarily on large-scale, site-specific works which create a dialogue with a particular architectural, urban, or landscape setting.
Snake (1996), is a work which the artist made specifically for the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum. Consisting of three serpentine ribbons of steel made up of six sections (two per curve), Snake totals 104 feet in length, reaches thirteen feet in height and is over twenty-one feet wide. There is no discernable vertival line in the structure. These new forms seem to defy gravity and logic, making solid steel appear as malleable as felt. Shifting in unexpected ways as viewers walk in and around them, these sculptures create surprising experiences of space and balance and provoke a dizzying sensation of solid steel and space in motion. Susan Cross

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